BROOKLYN — A veterinarian who surgically implanted liquid heroin inside puppies on behalf of Colombian drug traffickers was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday.
Andres Lopez Elorez, 39, of Colombia, pleaded guilty in September 2018 to conspiring to import heroin into the United States.
Authorities say Elorez surgically implanted liquid heroin into the bellies of puppies before they were sent to the United States. Once the puppies arrived to the states, the heroin was surgically removed from their bodies.
“Every dog has its day and with today’s sentence, Elorez has been held responsible for this reprehensible use of his veterinary sills to conceal heroin inside puppies as part of a scheme to import dangerous drugs into the United States,” said Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
According to court filings and facts presented during court proceedings, Elorez and his co-conspirators, based in Colombia, smuggled heroin into the United States using various methods to conceal the narcotics from law enforcement.
Between Sept. 8, 2004 and Jan. 1, 2005, Elorez leased a farm in Medellin, Colombia, where he secretly raised dogs and surgically implanted bags of liquid heroin in nine puppies for importation into the United States.
On Jan. 1, 2005, law enforcement searched the farm and seized 17 bags of liquid heroin weighing nearly three kilograms, including 10 bags that were removed from the puppies.
Three of the puppies died after they contracted a virus following the surgeries.
At least two of the puppies went on to a better existence.
Donna, a beagle, was adopted by a Colombian police officer and his family. Heroina, a Rottweiler, was trained by Colombian police to be a drug detection dog.
Elorez was a fugitive until he was arrested in Spain in 2015. He was extradited to the United States in May 2018.
Once he completes his sentence, Elorez faces deportation, according to officials.
The case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.